Rights offering detail :
The Naming of Girl
Aug. 21, 2018
Rhonda G. Williams
Children's: Young Adult Fiction
The Naming of Girl is a Southern Gothic novel with an indomitable heroine, sister to Scout Finch, Ellen Foster, and Ruth Anne Boatwright (Bone). Nine-year-old Girl Brown is semi-feral, intrepid, resilient, and often gut-wrenchingly funny. She leads a cast of colorful, eccentric characters juxtaposed against the bleak background of rural, impoverished Arkansas in the 1960s.

Girl lives with Tracie, her guardian, who smokes so much pot she "can't remember a thing," and Antoe, who is "big like a grown-up"—a learning-disabled adult—only he is Girl's best (and only) friend and playmate. She spends most of her time taking care of Antoe and making sure they both keep out of Chuck's way. Chuck is Tracie's physically violent, one-legged Vietnam vet boyfriend who is fighting his own demons with whiskey and heroin, and he hates "sassy-mouthed" kids. And Girl is sassy, with a mouth that turns the air blue, and fingers so sticky she cleans out the local Woolworth store with the unwitting help of the clerks. Their home is a crumbling, condemnable structure, its dirt basement and the crawl space under the house being the secure and safe spaces for Girl and Antoe.

Girl is sent to school for the first time when she’s nine. Her bizarre ways leave her the possibility of only one other playmate, the other outcast in the class, the only African-American girl, Cerese Miller. Girl is thrilled to win permission to have Cerese sleep over one night, but for Cerese wants to flee the house of horrors. When Mrs. Miller comes the next morning to find out more, she seems to know something about the family. She invites Girl and Antoe to a weekend sleepover at the Miller’s , where they have a rare experience of order cleanliness, and nutritious food served at mealtimes. Antoe recognizes the photo of a girl on the wall and cries over it. The two households continue to intersect in mysterious ways. Things take a dark turn when Chuck is thrown in jail for beating up Cerese's older brother, Brady, who has admired his fancy car—the one that Girl relieved of a stash of strange little balloons that she hid in a fit of anger.

Chuck is not only selling drugs but running another scam as a faith-healing preacher with Girl as his number-one example of a soul to baptize and save. It doesn’t go well.

One day Antoe goes missing. It’s Halloween and Girl runs away in her Wonder Woman costume to find him. Her journey wading through bayous and stowed away in truck beds leads her to some unexpected allies in a monastery of Carmelite friars, and with help from Brother Joseph, she is able to piece together the surprising and truth about her parents: Her true blood relationships to Antoe—and to the MIllers—are revealed. Brother Joseph helps her finds Antoe, who has been committed to a home facility for the mentally disabled. She is furious and betrayed to find him happy and unwilling to leave. After Brother Joseph takes Girl back home, she commits accidental homicide by mayonnaise sandwich after Chuck assaults her and breaks her arm.
Rights available:
Film rights, Television rights, Audio rights
Other Information:
"If you like pithy dialogue and vivid evocations of the underbelly of life, if you like characters who make you howl with laughter and who break your heart, if you like a novel that reminds you of everything that is wrong with the world and then reminds you of everything that is right, you will love The Naming of Girl."

--Mark Spencer, winner of the Faulkner Society Faulkner Award and author of Trespassers, A Haunted Love Story, The Weary Motel, and others.

"As Flannery O’ Connor’s ghost haunts this book, it will haunt you. The strange, fantastic South is the main character in this novel, which is the vivid story of a stubborn girl, persistent in her wildness, lawlessness, bountiful in her rage and will to live. Rhonda Williams’ writing is ferocious, and this taunting creature she calls “Girl” will come to live permanently in your imagination."

--Kate Gale, author of The Goldilocks Zone
Ann Starr
Upper Hand Press, LLC
phone: 6148862462
P.O.Box 91179, Bexley, OH 43209
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